Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald were in Victoria on Tuesday afternoon to speak at the Legislature about the potential impact of LNG in the region.
After being introduced and thanked by Premier Christy Clark and Minister Coralee Oakes, who spoke about the “Northern Decade”, Mayor MacDonald spoke to those gathered at the steps in Victoria about what the Lelu Island terminal could mean for the community.
“The opportunity we have from day one three years ago, when Pacific NorthWest LNG came and asked if we had any land available, to today has been a whirlwind and it keeps getting busier and busier. There are many opportunities available for us and I am looking forward to them all … I am looking forward to the day we are all up there opening the terminal,” he said, acknowledging not everyone in Port Edward was supportive of the project.
“We always have those for and against, but what is important to me is that families can stay together. With the downturn following the closure of the mill 15 years ago, we lost a lot of families and income and families have had to go all over the country to find work. Now we have a chance to bring them home and for our children to stay home.”
Following Mayor MacDonald, Mayor Brain spoke about the downturn Prince Rupert has experienced in the last decade between the closure of the mill and the decline in forestry and fisheries.
“We lost a lot of friends and a lot of population and it has been a struggle for our community to get back on track and for our community come into a renewal area. With these opportunities at our door, Prince Rupert is really seizing the day,” he said, pointing to preparation work that includes the LNG Go Plan, the Airport Master Plan and an upcoming program called Rebuild Rupert to address infrastructure needs.
“We’re all working together … this is not going to just be good for our communities and our neighbours, but for B.C. as a whole.”
Noting the terminal could create 4,500 jobs across the province, Premier Clark said the passing of the project development agreement would be a milestone to be celebrated but is not the final step in the process.
“We are well on our way, but we are not there yet … there is a lot more work to do and Prince Rupert and Port Edward know how to do that work,” she said.
“We have that work to do to make sure we transform those communities in the Northwest, to make sure that we support First Nations leaders in making a strong, more vibrant First Nations economy for the people they represent, to transform medium and small businesses as they connect with LNG through the Buy BC LNG program, and most of all, make sure the government has the revenues it needs in the future to pay for health care, education and the services that help distinguish us as one of the fairest, most equitable societies on the globe.”